I’ve often heard people preach about how we should use all of the gifts that God has given us for the kingdom. As well as sermons on how we can have a great impact right in our own work environments. Although, it was often hard for me to envision what that looked like and why it was true based on what the bible says. I know I’m not the only one who at one point or another felt like the only way to have real impact on the kingdom of God was to work in the “ministry”. As a matter of fact, I think many Christians feel that way. From stay at home mom’s to full time career women or full-time working men with families. How can we have a kingdom impact in those often unnoticed areas of life that don’t look like a pulpit or resemble a staff employee of our church?
Our natural propensity is to look at the most common bible heroes such as Paul, Stephen, Moses, David, or John the Baptist as models for how we do kingdom and ministry work. It just seems to fit the mold, of the most often preached messages in the church – evangelism, missions, etc. The leaders, in general, are who we most often look to as our example for kingdom centered work. However, I came a across a passage recently that I’m not sure I have ever even noticed before. Okay, I’m sure I’ve read it plenty of times, but by the time I get towards the end of some of the Old Testament books I do sort of fade at times. LOL. I bet you do too 😉
I came across this text from Exodus 31 that comes on the heels of God explaining to Moses how he wanted his to build the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, the tent of meeting and many other things. It caused me to pause for a second. It forced me to rethink in a more honest and engaging way as to how God often wants to use us in ways that don’t always look like typical ministry, and why we need to be more open to hear his voice even in the most small, monotonous, or “petty” things that we just naturally tend to overlook:
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, 2 “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. 6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent— 8 the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand— 10 and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.”
At times in the Old testament God would yield to people the empowering of the Holy Spirit to do work. In this scenario, God chooses Bezalel, fills him with his spirit, and gives him artistic ability and architectual skills to assist Moses in building everything that God described to him. According to Jewish Rabbinical tradition Bezalel, was 13 years old at the time he was called upon. One other interesting fact was that considering that his grandfather was Hur and grandmother was Miraim, he was basically the grandnephew of Moses One of the interesting things about this story that challenged me is this – Did Bezalel know that God had filled him with his spirit, and given him supernatural artistic abilities? Even if he recognized the work and power of God in him he likely had no idea that he would be called to be Moses’ right-hand-man.
How often has or does God attempt to use us in similar ways? Where he fills us with his spirit or gives us creative abilities or ideas and instead of investing in them, developing them, or nurturing them, we quit them. We quit them before he ever has the chance to use them, and come alongside a Moses and use them in a mighty and powerful way. We often think of faith as believing in things that we know of and want beforehand, but don’t yet see. “1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11. Is it possible that we should be believing for things yet unseen, although there is nothing yet there to “hope for”.
As a side note, this story is a great illustration of how God really does order the steps of a good man – Psalm 37:23. If I could take some creative license in the story, I would imagine that Bezalel had gone to his regular workplace (J.O.B) that day and was busy as he always had been for years. The day was like any other where he worked with his hands to “cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts”. He probably struggled to get up and out that morning, since it was a Monday. LOL. Anyway, around lunch time Moses shows up, tells him that he would like to speak with him in private and then delivers to him the news. I’m sure Bezalel was ecstatic. It’s become somewhat common for people in modern day Christianity to mock the old idea of “Just waiting on the Lord”. I understand why they laugh at it in it’s most extreme form. Which is, I can be lazy, sit on my talents and gifts, and one day an angel will appear and tell me that he has reserved Bill Gates job at Microsoft for me when he retires. That type of hyper-spiritual faith is equally dangerous. But, let’s never forget that we are called to wait upon the Lord, and that his timing and intricate planning far is better than anything that we can patch together.
We need to stay open to God’s voice, but sometimes we need to stay open to the variety of ways that he moves and intervenes in our lives. Most Christians don’t think of the arts when they hear the word ministry, but God does. If he can fill Bezalel with his holy spirit, and give him skills and abilities to design the tabernacle, I believe he can use us all in ways that we haven’t even imagined yet. We just need to stay open to the fact that God often speaks to us in ways that we’re not necessarily anticipating.